Empowerment Program for Refugee Women*

Almost half of the international migrants are women*, about 40% of the refugees living in Germany are women* and girls*. Refugee and migrant women* experience multiple forms of discrimination: through restrictive migration and residence laws and through patriarchal, racist and sexualized oppression and violence.

They face enormous obstacles: uncertain residence status, inappropriate accommodation in camps, restricted access to education, health services and the labor market. Many women* experience gender-specific traumas, were or are exposed to sexualized harassment and violence.

Many refugee and migrant women as well as inter*, trans*, queer and non-binary refugees and migrants are organizing, networking and fighting for their rights. With the Empowerment Program for Refugee Women* (EFF), which has been running since 2020, filia wants to support these groups and initiatives to strengthen themselves and be visible in society. For instance, through supporting community-building, networking, strengthening of existing skills and knowledge and building safer spaces (see funded projects).

Focus on self-organized refugee and migrant women*

Within this program, filia gives funding to groups and projects that are self-led by newcomer, refugee and migrant women*. This means that they shape and decide their activities and goals themselves. Refugee and migrant women* are at the center! The program is bilingual, English and German, from the call for proposals and applications to the advisory board.

One of filia’s goals is not to only treat the symptoms of inequality, but to also address the roots of the problems. This is why we support groups that want to intersectionally achieve structural changes in society. Empowerment improves individual situations, strengthens communities politically. Women* believe in themselves and fight together for structural change. Exchange and networking also mean self-determination and more visibility.

Find the latest “Call for proposals” here. »

Advisory board of refugee and migrant women*

As filia’s girls empowerment program, EFF also has an advisory board. The advisory board is currently a group of ten refugee and migrant women* who advise the foundation on the decision about the funding and the further development of the program. It is important that people who know the life realities, are active themselves and bring experiences of flight and migration help shape and decide in the program.

More information about the Advisory Board are available here »

Projects are selected in a participatory process

There was the first EFF call in summer 2020 and the second in summer 2021: in total, we received over 150 applications.
The funding decision is made in a multi-stage participatory process: The applications are first recorded in filia’s office, then the advisory board makes a pre-selection. The advisory board members discuss these applications at a meeting in Hamburg and jointly determine which groups should receive funding. They then recommend to filia’s Board of Trustees which groups and projects should be funded.

In total, the following grants have been awarded so far:

  • ten impulse grants of up to €5,000 (launched in 2020),
  • two strategic grants totaling €20,000 (2020 and 2021),
  • twelve grants of between €3,000 and €8,000 (launched in 2021).

Currently, it is still unclear how exactly the program will continue from 2022. More information will follow here.

Empowerment Program for Refugee Women*

Your contact person

If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact.

Empowerment Program for Refugee Women*

Lea Rzadtki
Advisor Empowerment Program for Refugee Women*
l.rzadtki@filia-frauenstiftung.de
+49 (0)40 380 381 9982
+49 (0)176 15 15 13 30

Current grantees: Empowerment Program for Refugee Women*

Women in Exile e.V.
More information … »

BIWOC Rising
More information … »

International Women Space
More information … »

Unicorn Refugees bei PLUS. Psychologische Lesben- und Schwulenberatung Rhein-Neckar e.V.
More information … »

Starke Frauen
More information … »

Cafe Merhaba im Mehrgenerationenhaus Mütterzentrum Fürth
More information … »

Women for Justice
More information … »

Spanish speaking Women in Baden-Württemberg
More information … »

Initiative für Vielfalt und Teilhabe e.V.
More information … »

Our Voice
More information … »

Afrikanischer Kulturverein Palanca e.V.
More information … »

Shahrzad e.V. – Verein für gehörlose Flüchtlinge und Migranten
More information … »

Utamara e.V.
More information … »

Jambo e.V.
More information … »

ADNA for Agreement and Empowerment e.V.
More information … »

Muslim Women’s Group in Bremerhaven
More information … »

Current grantees: Empowerment Program for Refugee Women*

Strategic grant: Women in Exile e.V.

Place: Potsdam

Strategic funding for 2020 and 2021: 20.000 Euro

Women in Exile is an initiative founded in Brandenburg in 2002 by refugee women who fight for their rights. We decided to organize as a refugee women’s group because we have made the experience that refugee women are doubly discriminated against: as asylum seekers marginalized through racist laws and discriminated as women. In the next two years we are going to focus on events which will lead us into celebrating Women in Exile`s 20 years anniversary in 2022. The idea is to make a nation-wide bus tour in 2021, build an archive for our work, research for and write a book. In the summer 2022, we will celebrate a history month of WIE and launch the book. Through meetings and empowerment workshops with refugee women living in the camps and those who have been lucky to get a residence and together with our friends without refugee background, we will develop a concept on how to make two powerful summer events for refugee women and feminist groups nationwide. This we will do without losing of focus the longtime campaign of „No lager for women and Children, Abolish all lagers“! We intend to involve our nationwide network groups which include the refugee women and their supporters.

www.women-in-exile.net
www.facebook.com/Women-in-Exile-Friends-953605994710745/
https://twitter.com/women_in_exile?lang=en

Unicorn Refugees bei PLUS. Psychologische Lesben- und Schwulenberatung Rhein-Neckar e.V.

Place: Mannheim

PLUS offers psychological counseling, self-help and youth groups and events by LSBTIQ* for LSBTIQ* to improve psychosocial health and quality of life. Since 2015 PLUS is more and more working for LSBTIQ* refugees and since then offers psychological support, preparation for hearings, social connection to and voluntary support from the community, referral to lawyers, therapists and other counseling centers, supports self-organization and meetings and sensitizes among social workers, accommodation facilities, authorities and local politics. The heart of the work is additionally the self-organized group “Unicorn Refugees”. It was formed in 2016 by LSBTIQ* refugees and meets 1-2 times a month. The group is led by a Black lesbian refugee woman and a non-binary queer refugee PoC. With the funding 2 refugees* can start the coordination of a women*’s group for mutual exchange, self-led formulating and fulfilling their needs, networking with local queer-lesbian and feminist groups, participating in events for empowerment and encounter.

www.plus-mannheim.de/index.php/refugees-welcome/unicorn-refugees

Cafe Merhaba im Mehrgenerationenhaus Mütterzentrum Fürth

Place: Fürth

Funding Amount: 4.000 Euro

We are a bigger group of refugee women from Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. A voluntary worker from the Mehrgenerationenhaus Mütterzentrum [multigenerational mother center] “gathered us together”. We lived in the various refugee accommodations in Fürth. We meet every Friday. We exchange ideas, talk about our life in Fürth and our worries, problems and wishes. Everyone in our group has a good education. We have worked in our countries of origin, and have reconciled family and career there as well. In Germany, we feel reduced to the family. We want to invite speakers from job center/agency for work and several women from different professions who can consult us how and what we can achieve with our educations. Which internships are possible? We also want to see that we create good educational opportunities especially for our girls.

www.muetterzentrum-fuerth.de

Women for Justice e.V.

Place: Burgwedel

Funding Amount: 6.000 Euro

Women for Justice e. V. emerged from the Platform for Struggle for Women Held in Captivity (2015-2018) and was founded in 2019 in Germany against the background of the genocide of the “IS” against the Yezidis. We have 40 members and volunteers in Germany, Turkey, Kurdistan/Iraq, Syria, Belgium and England, our network goes beyond. Many of the members are Yezidi women, survivors are also among the active members. A comprehensive understanding of justice that includes the dimensions of health/trauma, justice,integration, education, reconstruction is our basis.
To implement all the ideas and projects and to have a voice in the public discourse requires continuous public relations work. With the funding we would like to finance the production of video clips about our existing and planned projects, produce flyers and brochures as well as their translation at least into Kurdish and English. We want to accompany the upcoming campaigns medially in a high frequency. We will organize the exhibition “ÜberLeben. Ezidinnen nach dem Femizid 2014. Aufarbeitung – Gerechtigkeit – Menschenrechte Brochure zur Ausstellung” [Survival. Yezidi women after the feminicide 2014. Processing – justice – human rights. Brochure for the exhibition] brochure digitally.

www.womenforjustice.net

Initiative für Vielfalt und Teilhabe (über diversu e.V.)

Place: Lüneburg

Funding Amount: 8.000 Euro

Our group was founded as a result of discussions related to the participation options in Lüneburg and within the framework of the Future City 2030+ project. Here, work is being done on the city’s mission statement. In the process, the population groups of migrant origin were not addressed at the beginning. Their presence and participation in the city and region of Lüneburg are hardly considered. We are a group of 6 women with different professions, interests, migration and refugee experiences.
Point of departure: Although several women* with migration or refugee experience live in Germany or in Lüneburg, their perspectives and voices often remain unheard in political participation. Our project and the related goals: Organize a series of events that addresses women* with flight and migration experience and aims to strengthen one another, reduce structural barriers and make diverse opportunities for participation visible. A total of 7 events of 3 hours each are planned.

www.diversu.org

Our Voice (über Radio Dreyeckland)

Place: Freiburg

Funding Amount: 8.000 Euro

Our Voice, the voice of the invisible, is the self-governed refugee editorial office for Freiburg and the surrounding area. The project began in 2017 with a team of six, including four editors with refugee experience and two white German coordinators. In 2018, the responsibility of coordination was handed over to two editors. In the broadcasts, those who had to flee and live here tell their various stories. We broadcast in German, English, French, Arabic, Kurdish, Persian, Turkish. New is the podcast “Colourful Culture” once a month.
In addition to regional + supra-regional networking of Our Voice, we would like to work in cooperation with various local anti-racist and feminist supporters, we would like to open up a new migrant-diasporic and queer audience. Five events are planned: On the one hand in cooperation with Rosa Hilfe and a group of queer refugees, where those affected have their say. There will be an empowerment workshop for women (Women’s Power Day – already a classic for the editorial team). We will also address the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM) and invite three speakers – including one affected woman – who will also inform us about surgical measures. We cooperate with the Kurdish women in Freiburg, who are politically very active at the LaDIYFest, film screenings, their regular Vokü [collective kitchen] and feminist manifestations. Furthermore we want to invite the Women in Exile Berlin, if necessary online, because experience shows that these are well attended.

www.rdl.de/our-voice

Utamara e.V.

Place: Kasbach-Ohlenberg

Funding Amount: 7.200 Euro

Through a Europe-wide donation campaign (“Women need their own spheres to realize their dreams…”) of the “International Free Women’s Foundation” in Rotterdam the basis for our women’s meeting place was laid in 2004. With the aim of creating a place of solidarity where women can come together, empower, educate and organize each other, in 2006 a group of mainly Kurdish women founded the women’s meeting place UTAMARA e.V. We share our diverse knowledge and experience with each other and together we manage projects with the goal of empowering ourselves and all others as women. We network and promote the networking and organization of other women. Especially in our communities we promote the approach of self-help. The development of counseling and self-help groups, education and awareness campaigns (e.g. on bride money) are part of our work, as well as the organization of Wendo courses, mother-child workshops and cultural events.
In April 2020, Cemal A. killed his wife Besma. In an open letter, together with others we have described this act as feminicide, and have clearly positioned ourselves against the label “accidental killing with drunken head”. In our work, we are often concerned with the traumas of this community – that men kill their wives is the same everywhere, but handling, reaction and prevention in such cases have to be done differently. We want to use your money to raise awareness about domestic violence and feminicides, especially in the Kurdish and Yezidi society.

https://www.utamara.org

ADNA for Agreement and Empowerment e.V.

Place: Aachen

Funding Amount: 6.000 Euro

ADNA for Agreement and Empowerment e.V. is a young association consisting of people with migration biographies living in the Aachen city region. The goal of the association is to serve society and support new immigrants with migration biographies. The association sees itself as a community that is open to all people. The association stands for a friendly and open-minded togetherness in assurance and protection. We place great importance to social competence and integration into a functioning community. We want to offer space for qualified, competent and motivated group work as well as for creative and innovative development possibilities.
With our activities we would like to offer women with flight experience a protected exchange platform, for them to process their traumata which they have experienced during their escape route. Because of their sexual orientation they experience discrimination incidents in everyday life, which they usually can’t handle very well. They already know this overload from their countries of origin, where they have to live their sexuality anonymously. Arrived in Germany they feel free, nevertheless they are confronted with many prejudices in the everyday life in the community. we would like to offer them a dialogue space with comrades. They should network more efficiently through joint activities (e.g. excursions) in order to better arrive and get in the new society.

https://adna-association.com/

Strategic grant: BIWOC Rising

Place: Berlin

Strategic funding for 2020 and 2021: 20.000 Euro

BIWOC Rising is the first intersectional co-working and social space in Germany. BIW*oC stands for: Black, Indigenous (formaly colonised), women* of colour, as well as all those who identify themselves as women and consciously includes the transgender communities and non-binary people of colour. BIWOC Rising is a migrant women* self-organization and emerged due to huge demand for more safer spaces for intersectional empowerment work and economic participation from within the target group. Therefore, it has the advantage to concretely react to needs and close existing gaps. We are migrants, refugees, women* of color of the migrant diaspora, Afro-Germans, Sint*ezze and Rom*nja etc. In addition, many of us identify ourselves as queer, inter* and trans* – the advisory board consists of queer Blacks and women* of colour. Most of our community comes from working class families and some have physical disabilities. With our mentoring program we intervene here and bring BIW*oC together to learn from our experiences. This is not only about the technical hurdles such as letters of application, but explicitly about how people have managed to make it despite intersectional discrimination. These are precious experiences and skills that are still invisible to our community.

www.biwoc-rising.org
www.facebook.com/biwocrising2020
www.instagram.com/biwocrising
www.youtube.com/channel/UCc1KrkT9nYJzuykHVhwWDDg

Starke Frauen

Place: Tübingen

Funding Amount: 5.000 Euro

We are a group of women, almost exclusively with migration and/or flight experience. We got to know each other through a film project 2016-17 at the Stadtmuseum Tübingen “Directing my life” about women and flight. After this intensive and successful project, which was strengthening and publicly effective, we stayed in contact and looked for new possibilities to continue the project. We know that many women/mothers in our circle of friends and acquaintances are in or on the verge of separation and are struggling to find their way. Some see moving into a women’s shelter as the only way out. We would like to network and strengthen them so that they do not have to fight alone with feelings of guilt, but are supported and go through or out of the crisis with a strengthened consciousness and matured personality. In 5 workshops we would like to approach these topics holistically – emotion and body work, knowledge/input, self-awareness, practice. Three women from the group lead the project. All other women are equal experts, co-creators.

International Women Space

Place: Berlin

Funding Amount: 5.000 Euro

The Break Isolation Group (BIG) is a working group of IWS (International Women Space e.V. in Berlin). The group is a self-organized group of refugee women living in different shelters and initial reception facilities in Brandenburg. The group was formed in 2018 out of the need for independent self-organization by refugee women for refugee women. The group’s goal is to alleviate the isolation faced by women newly arriving in Germany’s asylum system. For autumn 2021 we want to extend our Peer to Peer Empowerment to the reception center Eisenhüttenstadt by visiting the reception center and inviting the women to our workshops. This will also make our empowerment- work more effective as we will be getting hold of the women at the time they need support most. Later on in their process after distribution to other lagers in Brandenburg they will multiply the work that we are doing. We hope that by 2022 we will have established a permanent space in Eisenhüttenstadt, supporting the sustainability of this project.

https://iwspace.de/?v=3a52f3c22ed6

Refugees Emancipation e.V.

Place: Potsdam/ Brandenburg

Funding Amount: 4.978 Euro

Refugees Emancipation is a self-organised refugee Organisation. The Organisation was created by a group of refugees about 20 years ago, who had come to Germany with many ambitions, but realsized that, as an asylum seeker, it was almost impossible to study, work or become self- employed. They decided to self-empower themselves and brought internet into the Camps. That is how the Project of self-Organized Internet Cafe started.
One very important issue, which is the most important- is refugees’ legal stay in Germany. A legal stay permit given by the foreign office, opens the door for the refugees to enable them take part in integration courses, Ausbildung etc.. The refusal by the foreign office to give them a legal stay does not enable them integrate. That is why we want to use poltical tools like: Organising demonstrations in the entire State of Brandenburg; Writting with the refugees memorandums and send them to the Parliament in Brandenburg and other Institutions; Working with a Lawyer; Working with the Press; Meeting with the women for further strategies.

www.refugeesemancipation.com

Spanish speaking Women in Baden-Württemberg e.V.

Place: Stuttgart

Funding Amount: 7.520 Euro

The association grew out of an initiative that had already been networking Spanish-speaking women in BW [Baden-Württemberg] since the end of 2018 and supporting them with a variety of offers. Since April 2021 we are officially a registered non-profit association. In the last two and a half years we have supported each other by designing, planning, organizing and carrying out individual and group educational meetings, conferences, workshops, educational talks in the areas of personal development, education, language, work, family, health, finance and sustainability. We have a clear concept of networking and empowerment of women based on universal principles (solidarity, synergy, gratitude, altruism), but above all on good example and cohesion.
With this financial support, we would like to continue empowering and networking Spanish-speaking women. Specifically, we would like to offer: A yoga and meditation course; 10 workshops on how to deal with and process our emotions; We will also offer 10 workshops on how to manage own finances; 10 workshops for older migrant women.

www.spspfrauen.org

Afrikanischer Kulturverein Palanca e.V.

Place: Eberswalde

Funding Amount: 8.000 Euro

We are a group of women and queers with and without refugee and/or racism experience. We were and are all organized in different antiracist groups in Eberswalde and Barnim like the Bürger*inenasyl [Citizens’ asylum] Barnim or Barnim für Alle. The Palanca serves as an important networking and meeting place. Now we want to expand our anti-racist empowerment work with feminist empowerment.
1.) We would like to offer refugee women and their children a low-threshold cultural experience. The goal is to informally get to know the cultural offers for women and children in the Barnim and each other. At the same time, we are already and will continue to be approachable for everyday, social or bureaucratic problems and offer support. In this way, we want to identify needs through activities and at eye level.
2.) We want to involve the women and/or their topics in the local anti-racist work. For this we need interpreters, child care, workshops of political education, empowerment and anti-discrimination work by experts who themselves have experience with flight, migration and racism. The fair distribution of reproductive and care work is important to us in our group and in political work, so we want to learn more about it together through experts.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community/Palanca-ev-111900767013347/

Shahrzad e.V. – Verein für gehörlose Flüchtlinge und Migranten

Place: Köln

Funding Amount: 8.000 Euro

In December 2017, the first general meeting was held. Our offer is aimed at deaf people who also have a migration background or are refugees. With this group there is an increased risk of having experienced trauma or violence. We see it as our task to offer our clients a variety of services. Central are courses for German sign language and computer skills. We plan for yoga courses, the teaching of German culture and history as well as excursions, for example to museums. We also want to use our new rooms, which we have been using since the beginning of 2021, as a meeting place for our clients. In this way, we want to have a networking effect and contribute to self-help. The acquisition of important skills goes hand in hand with leisure activities and activities with other people who share similar experiences. In communication with our clients, some women have expressed the need to participate in a swimming course. This is an offer that we would like to create in the form of a women*’s group.

https://www.shahrzad-gehoerlose.de

Jambo e.V.

Place: Essen

Funding Amount: 4.350 Euro

The association “Jambo e.V.” was founded in 2019 in Essen by five women from different African countries and 2 men (Kenya and Germany). Since 2009, the founders have been working voluntarily in the fields of “social and economic integration”, because we had recognized in the practical work that in particular single mothers of African origin are targeted victims of racist and domestic violence in Germany and that these women rarely had a local contact person for their individual problems. We also count “genital mutilation” as domestic violence. Since 2019, the association has been in contact with all relevant women’s counseling centers here, built up its own resources through training, and established resilient contacts with the African community in Essen. The problems to be dealt with are determined by the women seeking help.

Muslim Women’s Group in Bremerhaven (Weser-Ems-Perspektiven e.V.)

Place: Bremerhaven

Funding Amount: 3.352 Euro

We are an Arabic, Turkish and Kurdish women’s group in Bremerhaven. Many of the women are from Syria and majority have flight background and therefore haven’t been living in Germany for long. This group was founded in the last 5 years. We got together not just because we speak the same languages and are Muslim women but because we have common interests, take a stand for a good integration for us and our families in Germany and for passing on our culture and language to our children. We are a group of about 100 women. We organize joint festivities, we meet in small and big groups and thereby live a part of our culture in community with the families living in Bremerhaven. We also do excursions together and have already organized certain workshops/ workshop weekends. Furthermore, we meet to dedicate ourselves to specific topics in the interest of all and work on the realization. Topics: Social participation/equal opportunities; Fit for the internet/Basic computer courses; German classes + alphabetization; dealing with discrimination.

www.weser-ems-perspektiven.de